|Health services treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic
Like many of you, WCB Nova Scotia has been
responding and adapting to COVID-19, and what it means for delivery of
services, and we are committed to continuing to deliver service during these
While case conferences, visits from WCB
representatives, and other such in-person services have been postponed, it’s
very important to note that our operations continue, simply being delivered
remotely. We understand our service provider partners share our desire to
continue to support workers and employers in recovery and return-to-work, and
we appreciate your efforts and collaboration.
Our expectation is that approved health
care providers will adhere to provincial and national directives, privacy,
safety, and discipline-specific standards, which are outlined by respective
governing professional bodies in the delivery of service.
The following questions and answers are
intended to provide guidance and direction during the COVID-19 pandemic, and
will change as the situation evolves.
Q&A for Service Providers
Can service providers offer teleconferencing or video conferencing services to workers?
WCB Nova Scotia is supportive of remote
service delivery during COVID-19 pandemic, where:
- it is aligned with the treatment program
approved by the Case Worker;
- it adheres to professional standards of
the provider's governing body, such as safety, ethics, confidentiality,
- there is no recording made of the call or
- there is no storage or record of
personally identifying information (name, SIN, or health details for example)
or upload of documents in the conferencing tool;
- Canadian privacy and hosting parameters
are strictly followed; and
- the participants consent is obtained, and
they are able to safely do so, logistically.
As usual, any treatment plan to promote
recovery and return-to-work requires Case Worker approval. Please contact the
Case Worker to discuss alternate, remote delivery options, such as telehealth.
WCB is unable to validate each provider's
chosen conferencing tool or security configuration. Ultimately, the service
provider is accountable to ensure they meet the professional standards of
telehealth service delivery, as outlined by their respective governing body.
WCB retains the ability to adjust approval of methods of service delivery
ongoing, and any changes will be communicated.
If I close my tiered clinic and provide workers with a home exercise program, what do I need to do?
If you are closing, please send a secure message to the Case Worker for each worker, informing them of the closure of the clinic.
If a service provider location closes, can a worker choose another location that is still open?
The service provider should contact the Case Worker to discuss alternate location options or treatment methods to ensure the appropriate services can continue, and to get approval.
Are reports and other supporting documentation still required?
If you are treating a worker either
in-person or remotely, yes, reports and other documentation supporting
treatment and return-to-work planning are still required. This in in accordance
with the terms of existing contracts, and other WCB communication regarding
service delivery during the pandemic, to support ongoing case management.
WCB Nova Scotia services continue, simply
delivered by distance where possible. Case Workers are available remotely and
are continuing to support workers and employers.
How will invoices be paid during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Invoice payments are being processed, so
please submit them as usual. Our services continue, simply delivered by
distance where possible. Service Providers can continue to mail or fax invoices
for payment, however for privacy reasons, do not e-mail invoices.
We know that recent changes to our system,
combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, are causing some delays in payment
processing, and we continue to address those.
Can service providers bill for extra fees for delivering alternate methods of service and treatment?
Any service approval is always in the
context of the Case Worker’s approval of a treatment and recovery plan.
These are unprecedented times and there are
new public health requirements which need to be adhered to for safety reasons
in-clinic. At this time, WCB is not reviewing fee schedules, and existing
standard rates will apply, provided the service offered meets the goals of the
approved treatment program and is within the existing contract terms.
The service provider will assume financial
responsibility for additional costs to set up alternate treatment delivery
methods and these costs cannot be transferred to WCB, workers, or employers.
If services are able to be offered
remotely, they must follow the criteria above, be within treatment plan
promoting recovery and return-to-work, and have the approval of the Case
We will continue to monitor the progression
of COVID-19, and we will change our approach as required. WCB Nova Scotia
maintains the ability to adjust rates ongoing, and any changes will be
Will workers still receive benefits if they choose not to attend treatment, including telehealth treatment?
It’s important that workers continue to
participate in treatment, where possible, to promote recovery and return to
work. Therefore, benefits should not be impacted. Individual circumstances
should be discussed with the Case Worker.
How often should case conferences occur with tiered service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic?
If case conferences are needed, tiered
service providers should continue to liaise with the Case Workers to discuss
appropriateness, frequency, methods (such as teleconferencing or video
conferencing), and to obtain pre-approval.
In these unprecedented circumstances,
contract provisions surrounding treatment timelines will be considered.
Extensions to treatment programs are always with the approval with the Case
What impact do new measures announced have on WCB service providers?
WCB expects service providers follow the
directives of the provinces public health officials regarding regulated health professionals.
It’s important to note that the directives
do provide for in-clinic and virtual care in non-urgent or non-emergency
situations when it is within the scope of practice established by a service
provider’s governing body. Service providers should also adhere to measures
from public health officials, the relevant governing body, as well as existing
contract terms with WCB.
If you are able to offer virtual care to workers, please contact the Case Worker for approval. Services that cannot be offered remotely are not approved by WCB, nor are the associated reports as these are only required if services are delivered.